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HSHS Rescue Flight begins helicopter service throughout Southwestern Illinois


From Illinois Business Journal news services

HSHS Southern Illinois Division has launched HSHS Rescue Flight, the new helicopter serving HSHS St. Elizabeth’s Belleville, HSHS St. Joseph’s Highland, and HSHS St. Joseph’s Breese.

Service began last Thursday, Jan. 21. Ribbon-cutting events will be held the week of Feb. 8 at each of the three hospitals served.

hshshelicopterHSHS Southern Illinois Division has partnered with Air Methods Corporation, a global leader in air medical transportation, to provide service to all three hospitals and their communities. The new helicopter will be stationed at St. Joseph’s Highland, cutting patient transfer times by as much as 11 minutes.

Patients needing specialized care will no longer have to wait for a helicopter to commute from St. Louis. The minutes saved with the new helicopter service provides opportunities to save heart muscle in cardiac patients and brain tissue in patients with stroke or neurological symptoms. Having a helicopter based in the community also allows for quicker access to care for on scene emergencies and reduces the transport time to a trauma center.

The helicopter base will be staffed with four pilots, four paramedics, and four flight nurses, who will rotate shifts. The helicopter will be staffed with a pilot, paramedic, and flight nurse 24 hours a day, seven days a week. In addition, a maintenance crew for the helicopter is employed.

“This will be a real benefit to the community as a whole,” said Julie LaFrance, director of planning and operations at HSHS St. Joseph’s Highland. “HSHS Rescue Flight will add to the level of emergency care and safety for residents in our community.”

To celebrate the arrival of HSHS Rescue Flight and the new service, a blessing and ribbon cutting event will be held from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 9, at the helipad at St. Joseph’s Highland. The public is welcome to attend the event, tour the helicopter, and enjoy refreshments.

Two more ribbon-cutting events will take place to celebrate the new service. The event at St. Joseph’s Breese will be held from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 10, and the event at St. Elizabeth’s Belleville will be held from noon to 1:30 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 11.

For more information contact Amy Liefer, director of communications at St. Joseph’s Highland, at (618) 651-2589 or or Kelly Barbeau, marketing/communications manager at St. Elizabeth’s, at (618) 234-2120 ext. 1270 or

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